Flags will fly at half-staff Thursday in observance of Sept. 11, 2001.

As the American flag has been updated to account for each new state, there have been 27 different official versions of “Old Glory” since the original 13 colonies declared independence in 1776.

The current 50-star version came into use in 1960 (after Hawaii joined the union in 1959) and became the longest-running American flag on July 4, 2007. The version with the second-longest stint was the 48-star flag, which was in service for 47 years from 1912 to 1959 (when Alaska gained statehood).

During the nation’s more active years of expansion, nine versions lasted only a year, while others lasted only two years.

Including Barack Obama, 11 presidents have held office under the current flag pattern.

The Revolutionary War began in with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775 and continued for more than eight years until its final skirmish on Sept. 3, 1783.

With the war in its early stages, the United States of America declared independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, as 56 members of the Continental Congress – the governing body of the 13 British colonies in North America – signed the Declaration of Independence. Thanks in large part to the efforts of the French military, and in smaller part to the involvement of Spain and the Netherlands (then called the Dutch Republic), the American “rebels” achieved their unlikely triumph and saw their Declaration officially recognized on a world level when the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.

As many as 50,000 Americans died in the struggle, along with 8,000 French and Spanish, while close to 40,000 British were killed, as well as about 7,500 German auxiliary fighters (who were aiding Great Britain).

The first of America’s original 13 colonies to become a state was Delaware, which was granted statehood on Dec. 7, 1787. The other 12 original United States were – in order of statehood – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

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